Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Half A King by Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea trilogy #1)

Joe Abercrombie writes grim dark fantasy novels, and he is on my list of favorite authors. His most famous work is The First Law trilogy. So if you have not read The First Law trilogy, then I envy you, because you have yet to experience for the first time, one of the best works in the genre. But I am not reviewing The First Law trilogy here. Instead, I would like to talk about Joe Abercrombie's new book, it has an interesting name called Half A King.

In Half A King, Joe Abercrombie stepped into the genre of YA fantasy. To be honest, when I heard Joe Abercrombie wrote Half A King as a YA novel, I was really skeptical about this book, and it did not interest me. This is because I do not have a good impression about YA fictions. Let me explain: From my understanding, YA fictions often involve stories about “coming of age”, and the current YA market is dominated by books chokefull of cliches and repetitive themes. For examples, themes like; teenage romance, set in a futuristic, dystopian world, or some story about “the chosen one”, so on and so forth. I just don't like this type of books, they all feel the same to me and I find them boring.

However, good reviews for Half A King began to spawn on the internet. Many reviewers described Half A King as ripping yarn set in a fantasy world resembling the Viking age. That grabbed my attention! Because I like reading Viking novels! So I decided to venture into the world of Half A King. The result? I love this book, and I am adding Half A King to my list of favorite books. Today, I would like to share some of my thoughts about this book, and the reasons why I like it. Let me start by providing a synopsis for this book.


Day after day, bitter waves from Shattered Sea batter endlessly at the sandy shores. The harsh environment gave birth to a hardy people, their world governed by the iron arms of powerful kings. Kings who inspired awe and obedience by martial might.

Our story began, when Prince Yarvi was born as the second son to the king. His birth served as a mockery to the royal family, because Yarvi was born with only one good hand. He could not grasp an axe or hold a shield to foray into the heat of a battle. In the eyes of his father, Yarvi was a weakling and a disappointment.

Half a man, they called Yarvi. But that's fine because Yarvi was going to give up his status of princedom and become a minister. A twist of fate changed Yarvi's plan, when his father and older brother died in a murderous plot, putting Yarvi next in the line to be the new king. But Yarvi's deformed hand made him some sort of a joke, he was half a king, because he could never inspire the traditional image of a warrior king among his subjects.

Half a king or not, Yarvi made a full oath to avenge his father and brother on the day he seated on the throne. As Yarvi sat on a lonely throne, he learned an important lesson; that things are never what they appear to be.

What I think about this book:

Most YA fantasy novels suffer from cliched themes such as: “the chosen one”, “teenage romance”, or “good versus evil”. I am happy to report Half A King steered away from these cliches. Instead, it gave us a revenge story about a boy, and how his plan to exact vengeance on the murders of his family transformed him. In retrospect, Half A King breaks away from the stereotypical themes in the modern YA fictions, and this book refreshes the genre with a story bursting with realism and intrigues.

Half A King also surprised its readers with unexpected twists and turns of the story. Unlike many fantasy novels where you can usually predict how the story will unfold, Half A King is unpredictable. When I was reading this book, there were numerous occasions when I predicted the story was going to unfold in a certain direction, only to discover in the next chapter, that the outcomes turned 180 degrees away from my prediction. I could feel a real sense of danger lurking behind the waves of the unfolding events in the story. This made the story both interesting and intriguing, where the unpredictability taut the story with tensions, while you guess, nail-bitingly, at the fate of your favorite character in the next chapter.

Half A King also features one of the steepest character developments I've seen in the genre of fantasy fictions. Yarvi began his story as a weakling. As the story progressed, we could really see how Yarvi's traumatic experiences transformed him from a weak boy to a deeply cunning man. Meanwhile, Half A King has a cast of interesting, supporting characters. Their relationship with Yarvi was lively portrayed, cutting deep impressions into readers' minds. When I was reading this book, I felt the story really made me care about every character, and I was drawn into Yarvi's world.

World building plays a crucial role in a fantasy novel, it can either make or break a story. Joe Abercrombie is one of the masters in this art, and his world building skills shined in Half A King. In a mere space of 300 pages, Joe Abercrombie created a fully living, breathing world, complete with its own background history, culture and lore. The fictional world of Half A King is a reminiscence of the Viking world. Joe Abercrombie brought this fictional world to life, with vivid portrayals of a harsh, cruel environment where the bitter cold assaults the land, and the merciless sea bears both despair and hope where people's livelihood reside.

For me, reading Half A King was a joy ride. The story flowed at a very good pace. This is a fast-paced book, but it is also packed with enough details to draw a reader into its world. Joe Abercrombie's writings is top notch, it is energetic, vibrant, and descriptive. He used words strikingly and beautifully to craft captivating sentences, enabling the readers to visualize every scene in the book.

As I closed the final chapter in Half A King, I marked this book on my "worthy to be re-read" list. This is a powerful and memorable story, and it is very enjoyable. It is true that Half A King is not The First Law trilogy, because it is not as bleak. But in comparison to The First Law trilogy, I actually prefer this diminished sense of bleakness in Half A King. In my opinion, Joe Abercrombie proved himself to be a versatile author, masterfully weaving the “grim dark” aspects into the story without leaving the readers feeling bleak at the end. Instead, readers emerged from Yarvi's dark journey at the end of the book, with a sense of satisfaction, eagerly anticipating the sequel, currently scheduled for release in February 2015, titled “Half A World”.

P.S. I based this book review on my copy of the limited edition for Half A King, published by Subterranean Press. This is why the book cover, and the artworks displayed in my book review differ from the retail, paperback version of the book, which can be found at most bookstores.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Review: The Tower by Simon Toyne (Sancti trilogy #3)

The Tower is the final book in Simon Toyne's Sancti trilogy. I will start this review by saying, if you have not read the previous 2 volumes in this trilogy, then I will highly recommend that you read Sanctus and The Key, before you read The Tower. Otherwise, you will have no idea what is going on in this book, because The Tower is not a stand alone novel. Furthermore, I will do my best to avoid spoilers in this book review, so you can savor the feelings of suspense, and elements of surprise, as you discover the twists and turns in this book for yourself. Ok, now I will start to provide a review for this book.


In the present day, a computer virus assaulted NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland. This cyber-attack disabled the Hubble telescope. After the incident, FBI took over the investigation, and the number one suspect is Goddard's most prolific, Nobel price winning scientist, who vanished after the incident and left a cryptic message on his desk: Mankind must look no further.

FBI appointed two agents on the case; Agent Franklin, who possesses 20 years of experience at the bureau investigation. And Agent Shepard, a rookie with an impressive academic credential in astrophysics, who joined the bureau for his own reason. As this duo set out to solve the case, they discovered they were stepping into a web of mysteries that began when Citadel, an ancient monastery in Turkey, exploded 8 months ago. The incident involved the missing American journalist Liv Adamsen, and Gabriel Mann, a charity worker. Liv and Gabriel's fates remain unknown since the incident.

What truth will Agent Shepard and Franklin uncover, at the bottom of their investigations? Stay tuned, as the story of Sancti comes to a full conclusion in The Tower.

What I think about this book:

The Tower provides a satisfying conclusion to Sancti trilogy. Simon Toyne continued to write with a cinematic quality in each chapter, where his writings depicted every scene lively and vividly. This book also made an excellent use of short chapters. This quickens the pace of the book, while motivating its readers to continue reading, because this is a fast paced story.

However, the pace in The Tower is considerably slower than the previous 2 books. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, this book introduced two new characters, Agent Shepard, and Agent Franklin. These two characters took on the roles as the main characters, and Simon Toyne took time to establish these two characters, by using a sub-plot to explore the relationship between them. While the introduction/establishment of new characters did slow down the pace of the book, but personally, I greatly enjoyed the story of Agent Shepard and Agent Franklin, and I like both of these characters. I wish the author could have introduced them earlier, in The Key.

Secondly, the narratives in this book constantly switched between the present day (involving Agent Shepard and Franklin), and 8 months in the past (involving Liv and Gabriel). This “time-jump” narratives slowed down the pace of the book, making the story slightly more complex than previous books. But to Simon Toyne's credit, he managed to make this complex story fairly easy to follow. This means, while the story in The Tower is complex, but it doesn't feel complicated. Simon Toyne was able to combine these two major plot lines, spreading across the “gap of time", and merged them into one story, at the concluding chapters of the book.

However, having said this, I prefer the parts of the book involving Agent Shepard and Franklin (in the present day), than the parts involving Liv and Gabriel (8 months in the past). This is because I thought the plot line following Shepard and Franklin is better developed than the plot line that followed Liv and Gabriel. Without spoiling anything, let me just say I thought Liv and Gabriel's story felt rushed, especially at the end of the book.

When I turned to the last page in The Tower, I thought the ending felt a bit rushed, but it was a satisfying ending nonetheless, because every plot line in the story was concluded with no loose ends. Overall, I would say as a whole, Sancti trilogy is one of the better conspiracy thrillers I have ever read. I would recommend Sancti trilogy to people who enjoy reading conspiracy, mystery thrillers.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book Review: The Key by Simon Toyne (Sancti trilogy #2)

The Key is the second book to Santci trilogy, a sequel to Sanctus. This book is written by International best-selling author Simon Toyne, whose books have been translated into 27 languages, and published in more than 40 countries. The Key is a fast paced, conspiracy thriller, and it continued the story that began in Sanctus. I have read The Key, and I thought this is a good novel. Today, I would like to share some of my thoughts about this book in a review.


Following the events from Sanctus, journalist Liv Adamsen woke up alone in a hospital, and discovered she lose her memory. Despite her amnesia, Liv felt something stirring in her, where a distant whisper breezing into her hears, calling her “the key”.

Meanwhile, a dreadful plague broke out in the Citadel, infecting the monks who lived within. To the monks, Liv held the key to alleviate them from this terrible plague, so the monks were determined to have Liv returned to the Citadel at all costs. However, the powerful faction at the Vatican City had a different perspective on the situation. For the ruler at the Vatican City, Liv posed a threat that could endanger the cardinal's plan to save the church from a financial disaster.

Being chased down by both the Citadel and the Vatican City, Liv's only chance was to seek assistance from a charity worker called Gabriel Mann. Together, they must evade their enemies, and solve the mystery of the key.

What I think about this book:

The Key is an electrifying thriller. This book introduced a new mystery to expand the plot from Sanctus. The author, Simon Toyne taut the strings of suspense in this book, as he gradually pealed off the layers of questions surrounding the central mystery, taking his readers on an exhilarating ride full of twists and turns, until the story reached a climax at the end of the book.

Simon Toyne wrote brilliantly in this book. There is a cinematic quality to his writing style. Every scene, from the descriptions for a harrowing ancient tower, to the breath-taking desert landscape, is depicted vividly and atmospherically. I also appreciated Toyne's use of short chapters in this book, it created a sense of urgency, encouraging the readers to continue reading this book until the end. Meanwhile, the use of short chapters also sped up the pace of the book. This is an addictive read, I could not stop reading this book after I passed the 300 page mark, because I was so eager to find out how the book was going to end.

While I enjoyed reading The Key, but I found the story in Sanctus more gripping. This is because The Key lacks the esoteric atmosphere from Sanctus. Sure, there is a new mystery in The Key, but for me the story in this book doesn't feel as interesting, or self-contained, as the story in Sanctus. Instead, The Key ended with a cliff-hanger. As a result, The Key feels like an interim book, a setup for a sequel. Having said this, I still think The Key is a good novel, and those who have already read Sanctus probably wouldn't want to miss this one.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Review: Sanctus by Simon Toyne (Sancti trilogy #1)

Before I go on to share what I am about to say, I must declare I love reading religious thrillers. With this declaration, you should be able to understand, why I have an interest in the below question. The question is this:

“Why are religious thriller novels so popular in the 21th century?”

Take a look around, there are hundreds of “Dan Brownish” thrillers on the market. I suppose it could be fair to say, Dan Brown is the one who started this trend. But when Angels and Demons, the first Dan Brown novel, was published in 2000, it did not attract the eyes of the public audience. This is very strange, because I think Angels and Demons is as good as (if not better than) The Da Vinci Code. However, I observed his second book, The Da Vinci Code (and the genre of religious thriller in general), seems to have gained the status of stardom after the tragic event of 911. Perhaps there is a connection here?

In 1980s and 1990s, thriller novels like Tom Clancy's books were very popular. Clancy's books were mostly political thrillers (such as Jack Ryan series), that reflected the political clime in that era. i.e. the Cold War. It was a time when the fragile politics between superpowers could trigger a global crisis at any time, affecting the lives of ordinary people.

But in 2001, it all changed. The world watched in horror, as terrorism, inspired by religious extremism, drove two aeroplanes into World Trade Centre in suicidal attacks. All of the sudden, a new type of danger emerged to threaten the lives of ordinary people. It is not a threat caused by one nation against another nation. Instead, it is a threat coming from people (who can be anyone) who dedicated themselves to intolerant, religious fanaticism. And this type of threat could arrive at our front doors at anytime. Today, we are still living under the shadow of such terrors.

I theorize, the increasing popularity of religious thrillers in the popular culture, somewhat reflects the awakening of the general public, to the threats associated with religious fundamentalism. Of course, my theory could be wrong. Nevertheless, the rise of religious thrillers in the 21th century really is an interesting phenomenon. Don't you think?

Anyway, I only mentioned the above for interest's sake. I am not writing an article to analyze the rise of religious thrillers in the popular culture. Today, however, I would like to review a religious thriller novel I read recently. This book, is called Sanctus, written by British author Simon Toyne. This is a very good novel. Many reviewers have compared this book to Dan Brown's novels, but I think such a comparison doesn't do justice to Sanctus. Either way, I hope this long introduction has ignited in you, some sparks of interest in religious thrillers. Now, without further delay, allow me to start this review, by providing a synopsis for this book.


A conspiracy, three thousands years in the making, is about to surface and tear the modern world apart. On a blue, sunny day, a man threw himself to death, leaping off from the roof of Citadel, an ancient religious fortress located at the city of Ruin in Turkey. This event was broadcast with extensive media coverage, the entire world witnessed this suicide. But only a handful of people could spot the symbolic meaning behind this act.

This tragic event drew together the lives of Kathyrn Mann and her son, who are charity workers, and Liv Adamsen, a crime reporter from New York. They began a journey to revelation, what they are about to uncover will change everything...

What I think about this book:

I think Sanctus tells a very unique story. I say this for two reasons: Firstly, unlike most religious/conspiracy thrillers, Sanctus threw a supernatural twist into the story. Secondly, most novels in this genre take place at real historical locations, with real religious organizations. The story in Sanctus, however, took place in a fictional city, and the story revolves around a fictional, religious order. This is why, I think Sanctus brought something new to this genre. Furthermore, by telling a story about a fictional, religious order instead of a real one, Sanctus prepared a space for readers to enjoy the book, without having to encounter the feeling of discomfort due to their religious affiliations being mentioned directly in the book.

So what is the theme in Sanctus? Personally, I believe the main theme in this book, is the origin of religion. Simon Toyne masterfully clothed this theme with a well written, fictional story. The pace of the story flows at a neck-breaking pace, and it is further enhanced by the excellent use of short chapters. At the same time, this book is suspenseful and gripping, because an esoteric atmosphere constantly shrouds the story. As the plot thickened, readers are bound to become more and more curious at the answer to the mystery. I particularly like how the author only revealed the truth behind the mystery, at the end of the book. When I reached the last 100 pages of this book, I couldn't stop reading it, because I just had to find out the answer to the final puzzle in the book. When the answer to the mystery was finally revealed, it blew my mind away, because it was totally unexpected.

I also consider the characterization in this book, to be superior to most books in this genre. From protagonists to antagonists, the story explored every character's view point, with a very good use of POV styled narration. While the characters in this book can appear one dimensional sometimes, but they are depicted as characters having their own, individual personalities. Furthermore, in this book, readers can see how events in the story impacted the characters. In other words, unlike most books in this genre where character development is usually lacking, in Sanctus, the presence of character development can be felt.

The author executed the plot in Sanctus brilliantly. Details and plot lines meshed together perfectly upon the arrival at every milestone in the story. There are no plot holes (I couldn't detect any). The supernatural twist in Sanctus, is one of the most intriguing features of the story. Throughout the story, the supernatural element was mostly hinted but not promised. This method of storytelling created a vision for a story with many possibilities, motivating the readers to continue and read the next page. I won't spoil what the supernatural twist is, but let me just say, from the hind sight, I realized the whole idea of Sanctus is very well conceived and carefully planned, and the author's depth of imagination impressed me.

My opinion of Sanctus is extremely positive, but in this book, the “voice of character” bothered me a little bit. Let me explain. The story of Sanctus is supposed to have taken place in Turkey, but I thought in this book, the Turkish characters spoke like Americans during the dialogues. I am not sure the reason behind the author's choice of character voicing. But for me, it reduced the feeling that the story was taking place in Turkey. Instead, at times, it felt like the story was happening in America.

I would say Sanctus is one of the better religious thrillers I've read. It offers a fast-paced, unique story that gripped its reader with a grand mystery. The climax of the story will blow your mind away, setting up an introduction to a promising sequel, titled The Key. In the meantime, I recommend Sanctus to those who enjoy reading fast-paced, religious/conspiracy thrillers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb (Farseer trilogy #3)

Assassin's Quest is the third, and the final installment to Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy. This is a fantasy series beloved by many fans. I have read, and greatly enjoyed the previous 2 books in this trilogy. Royal Assassin, the second book in this trilogy, ended with a cliffhanger. So I was really excited when I started reading Assassin's Quest, because I was expecting a grand ending. This book is 850 pages, thus exceeding the page count in Royal Assassin by 200 pages. It is the longest book in this trilogy. But does a longer book translate to a better book? Let's find out.


Following the events in Royal Assassin, Prince Regal executed his sinister plan of treachery. King Shrewd is now dead, and Fitz is presumed to have died in the prison. Meanwhile, Verity, the heir to the throne, is missing from his quest to search for the elderlings. Among the chaos, Regal seized this opportunity, and declared himself King.

However, Regal is an incompetent, and unloving king. In cold blood, he abandoned the northern parts of his kingdom and its people to the Red Ship raiders, and relocated the capital to an inland city. In the meantime, among the ashes, Fitz was rescued, and rose from his grave. As Fitz recovered his strength and mind, he set out on a mission; to exact revenge on the man who took his life away from him.

What I think about this book:

The theme in Assassin's Quest orients itself as a “quest” story. I think a credit point should go to Robin Hobb, for varying the themes throughout this entire trilogy. i.e. Assassin's Apprentice was a coming of age story, Royal Assassin thrived on political intrigues and tensions, while Assassin's Quest is mainly about a quest.

Having said the above, I was very disappointed by this book. Considering how well the first two books in this trilogy were, Assassin's Quest is a huge step back, ending the trilogy at a really low note. There are so many things I did not like about this book. First of all, this book is 850 pages, making it the longest book in the trilogy. However, the pace in this book is painfully slow, and I thought it was an absolute chore to read. The first 200 pages in this book centred on how Fitz failed to assassinate Regal (with too much unnecessary recaps from the 2nd book). The next 600 pages revolved around Fitz's painfully long journey to find Verity, and I thought these 600 pages were mostly, useless and uninteresting fillers.

Furthermore, characterization in this book is the weakest in the whole trilogy. For almost 2/3 of the book, Fitz traveled on roads and met new characters. But most of these new characters only appeared for 2 or 3 chapters, then disappeared. They never impacted the story for the rest of the book. In short, about 70 % of Assassin’s Quest felt like fillers. It's almost as if they existed for no reason other than to bulk up the size of the book. At 850 pages, Assassin's Quest is not the longest book I've read, but at the same time, Assassin's Quest FELT like the longest book I've ever read. I found this book boring, repetitive, and a very slow read. I felt a sense of relief when I finally reached the final page in this book.

The ending for Assassin's Quest (hence the ending for this trilogy), also disappointed me. Robin Hobb concluded the story, in the last 50 pages of the book. I don't want to spoil the story here, so let me just say, it was a Dues Ex Machina ending, totally unsatisfying and rushed. When I compared the large size of this book, to the rushed ending. I realized it is actually possible to skim through at least 500 pages of this book, and still understand the story.

I am not sure what happened to Assassin's Quest, but it is a truly disappointing conclusion, to an excellent fantasy trilogy. This book is unnecessary long, filled with uninteresting fillers, and the ending is wholly unsatisfying and rushed. However, Robin Hobb's prose remained excellent nonetheless. At the end of the day, I am glad I read Farseer trilogy. As a whole, this is a tragic, but moving tale. The first two books in this trilogy alone made this series worth a read, even if this last book leaves much to be desired.

Book Review: Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (Farseer Trilogy #2)

Farseer trilogy is considered as a classic in the fantasy genre. In Farseer trilogy, readers find a griping tale flavored with political intrigues. The first book in this trilogy, titled Assassin's Apprentice, kick-started this series with a moving, coming-of-age story. In the second book, Royal Assassin, the story of continues, and it is a longer book than its predecessor. 


Following the events in Assassin's Apprentice, Fitz is a broken man. His body is poisoned and damaged. Fitz's bitterness surged as his health faded like the falling autumn leaves. He decided to leave the Mountain Kingdom and return to Buckkeep, so he can continue his service to King Shrewed.

When Fitz returned to Buckkeep, he found himself besieged by enemies. Threats and dangers assaulted the kingdom, both inside and outside of the royal court. At the king's court, nobles dappled at a game of power. Meanwhile, raiders of the Red Ship encircled the kingdom of Six Duchies, like wolves descending upon their prey. Soon, Fitz discovered serving his king may cost him his life.

What I think about this book:

Royal Assassin stands at 650 pages, exceeding Assassin's Apprentice by 200 pages. These two books differ in themes. In my opinion, Royal Assassin is as good as Assassin's Apprentice. While Assassin's Apprentice is a coming-of-age story, Royal Assassin orients itself as a fare of political intrigues. This also means, the story in Royal Assassin is built upon waves of tension.

The pace of Assassin's Apprentice was slow. In Royal Assassin, the pace of the story is even slower. Despite the slow pace, this book (and its predecessor) managed to stay my interest in the story. The world building in this book is done brilliantly. The author vividly depicted a life at the royal court, with colorful narratives and a carefully executed, suspenseful plot.

The characterization in this book remains a strength worthy to be praised. The characters in this book are believable. The author allowed her protagonist, Fitz, to make mistakes and suffer the consequences. As the story unfolds, readers witness Fitz grow and change, as he learns from his mistakes. Meanwhile, supporting characters in this book also changed as the events in the book impacted them. In other words, the characters in this book underwent steep character development.

I also want to share, that I found writings in this book a pleasure to read. Like in Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb wrote beautifully and powerfully. Usually, I am not overly fuzzy about the quality of prose in a novel. But in the case of Farseer trilogy, I appreciate the excellent writings, because it enhanced the charm of the story.

In all sincerity, I could not find much to complain about Royal Assassin. In my opinion, this book is a solid sequel to Assassin's Apprentice. While the pace in this book may be slow, but in the last 50 pages, every plot device was triggered simultaneously, crescendoed to a mind-blowing conclusion that ended with a cliffhanger. At this point, I am eager to venture into the last book to this trilogy, Assassin's Quest, which will be the final chapter to this moving tale.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (Farseer trilogy #1)

Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy appears frequently on book review websites. This trilogy is known by fans of fantasy fictions, as a “must read” series. It offers readers with a unique story, blending a coming to age tale with political tensions and court intrigues. I have had this trilogy sitting on my bookshelf for well over a year. During the holiday season, I finally had a chance to delve into Hobb's beloved creation. Today, I would like to provide a book review for Assassin's Apprentice, which is the first book in the trilogy.


Tale-tellers sing the legends of heroes. Tales of mighty men whose lives are remembered by songs of glories and deeds. Stories of fierce warriors and high kings of noble blood, burn into the memories of men, like fiery comets tearing through the black veil of a moonless night.

But what we have here is a different tale. A story birthed not from the wombs of valiant deeds in battles, but a tale that began with the sullenness of a cold, wintry night. This story, is about the turbulent life of FitzChivalry Farseer, a prince's royal bastard. 

At the age of 6, Fitz was cast away from his mother, taken to the King's castle on a snowy night, alone and scared. The king entrusted Fitz to the care of the stablemaster, Burrich. From that night, Fitz's was destined to be entangled in the spidery web, of a royal court life. Not as a prince, but a as bastard. At this point, the story of FitzChilvary Farseer began.

What I think about this book:

Robin Hobb wrote both beautifully and powerfully in this book. This book excelled in world-building, where every scene is described with colorful richness, but never wordy. Assassin's Apprentice is also a character driven book. The characters cut bone deep impressions into readers' minds, because the author depicted them vividly, with such skills that make them shine and memorable. In this book, character development is the engine to drive the story forward. While readers witnessed how the characters' views, and their personalities, are shaped and impacted by the ordeals they lived through.

I found Assassin's Apprentice to be a sad story. I believe, when most readers witness the life of Fitz, the main character, they are bound to feel sympathy for him. In this book, Fitz had to learn and play a game of cloak and daggers, to survive at the royal court, because he is a bastard of a former heir to the throne. One of the great sadness in this book, is that Fitz never met his father, Chivalry, who died very early in the book. The book described Fitz's loneliness and pain with such heartfelt emotions, that it is hard for a reader to not care for him.

What I also appreciate about this book, is that Hobb let her character, Fitz, make mistakes and receive the consequences. This also means there are many moments in this book, when the good guys lose, and the bad guys won. Furthermore, these moments often impacted the characters' lives permanently. I think Hobb's storytelling is successful, because she channeled to readers a real sense of danger for the characters in the story, so the book can grip its readers with tension and surprises.

I did however, find the pace of this book to be a bit slower than other, modern day fantasy novels. Having said this, I think the slow pace matched this book quite well, allowing readers to dwell deeper into the lives of characters, and the world they live in.

Assassin's Apprentice is a good book. This book certainly began the tale of Farseer trilogy on a high note. Robhin Hobb crafted her story with great love and care, and I believe most fans of fantasy fictions will enjoy this book.